The very end of August
Brings a stillness in the night,
When the many trills of midsummer
Are silenced and the fireflies gone out!
Lying stilly and listening, I hear
A solemn drone, like an old contralto,
Trying to warble but instead
Radiating an insistent hum
That thrums athwart the arid air,
Long fingers scraping a humming tanpura.
Even the full moon is dry,
Gazing down, matter-of-fact,
Through the dust-like mist.
Summer has given up,
Letting leaves and vines dry up,
Tinged with red and shriveled bronze.
I could walk in the garden now,
And not worry about slugs on
The dried stalks of lilies.
The robust asters offer little
Temptation to garden pests
And strapping thistles seem to stand guard.
Is the balance between my will
Over the garden and its desire
To overflow and bloom beyond me,
Now achieved yet unwanted?
Yes…I prefer the lushness that comes
After the rains, with an untamed riot
Of color and green, the celebration
That happens on its own, heedless
Of my wishes; yet I revel in it
Every time it wins
And will wait a year
For this to emerge again.
I originally titled this "Cricket's Song" but it didn't seem to match the mystery and majesty of their night songs. I hope the title doesn't seem too pretentious!